20:21 GMT +316 August 2017
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    US Can’t Afford to Lose Asia, as Washington’s Security Depends on it

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    Failure to reach a new agreement and letting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) collapse would have serious consequences for the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region overall, Tokyo-based foreign policy magazine the Diplomat reported.

    Currently, a free trade deal is being negotiated by trade ministers from the Pacific Rim countries — the United States, Japan, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. The agreement seems to be in trouble, as the ministers have yet to come with a working agreement, putting negotiations in danger of collapse.

    According to the Diplomat, this is bad news for the Asia-Pacific, especially considering that the region is going through territorial disputes across the South China Sea, increased tensions between China and Japan, China and Taiwan, as well as a potentially dangerous situation on the Korean peninsula.

    A TTP failure would also cause a number of problems for the United States in the region.

    First of all, if the TTP collapses it will decrease the economic growth in the region. As the economies of countries shrink, they will start spending less money on things like climate change and counterterrorism. Furthermore, the Diplomat said that richer countries are more invested into the well-being of their neighbors since their own economic interests partially depend on other countries. This, in turn, brings stability into the region.

    Secondly and most importantly, failure of the TTP would send a strong message to US allies in the region that Washington is no longer willing to be the leader in the region. As a result, a new scramble for political hegemony in the Asia-Pacific will start between other powerful players, such as China and Japan, which will try to fill in the political void left by the United States, the Diplomat said.

    The new balance of power is the last thing the US needs in the Pacific Rim right now, as it might lead to hasty decisions that could lead to the escalation of already existing conflicts in the region, the magazine argued.

    And lastly, by abandoning the TTP, the United States will lose out on economic benefits from the agreement. Economic gains from the TTP would equal to $59 billion per year by 2020, an analysis from the Peterson Institute said.

    While the Diplomat is vehemently arguing in favor of the TTP, thousands of people took to the streets across New Zealand to protest against the agreement on Saturday. Protesters argue that if the agreement follows through large transnational corporations will undermine sovereignty of smaller nations in pursuit of their economic interests.

    There are also significant concerns over the lack of transparency of negotiations, with highly secretive talks between world leaders held behind closed doors.

    This has lead to more concern from the public, who are worried that any such agreement would merely benefit predominantly American multinational corporations and lead to a reduction in the quality of services around the world.

    Related:

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    Leaked TPP Doc Reveals 'One Size Fits All' Plan to Boost Multinationals
    Claim That TPP Promotes Free Trade 'is a Myth' - Former UN Delegate
    Tags:
    Free Trade Agreement, security, international affairs, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), South China Sea, China, Japan, United States
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